May 9th, 2009
12:47 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama putting ‘symbolism over security,’ Bond says

Sen. Kit Bond says President Obama is using a 'ready, fire, aim' strategy.
Sen. Kit Bond says President Obama is using a 'ready, fire, aim' strategy.

(CNN) - Missouri Sen. Kit Bond said President Obama’s plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a “dangerous case of putting symbolism over security.”

“Guantanamo Bay – known as GITMO – doesn’t house middle-of-the-road, white-collar criminals. Instead, this detainee facility houses deadly terrorists, including 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” said Bond, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Republicans have been pounding Obama and the Democrats over the proposed closure, saying that closing the facility could push detainees into facilities in the United States, making the country less safe.

Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters the Justice Department was reviewing each of the detainees at Guantanamo to determine what to do with them.

In the weekly Republican radio address, Bond charged that Obama is implementing “a classic example of a ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ strategy.”

“When it comes to national security decisions, I prefer aiming before shooting, which is why I keep calling on President Obama to tell us, the American people, how his plan to close Guantanamo will make our nation safer ... I think the American people have a right to know exactly what the White House plans to do with these terrorists,” he said.

Earlier this week, House Democrats told the president he won't be getting money to close the military detention facility until he has a "concrete program" for shutting it down and moving its prisoners.

About 240 prisoners remain at the detention facility.

Attorney General Eric Holder promised a Senate committee on Thursday he will not release suspected terrorists into the United States.

“There are no easy solutions here. But, having no solution and moving forward with the closing [of] the prison at Guantanamo is a dangerous gamble with our security here at home and our troops abroad. I, for one, am not willing to gamble with our national security,” Bond said.

“Closing our terrorist-detention facility with no backup plan is one campaign promise that can’t hold up to national security realities. While the President has made closing Guantanamo Bay a priority, the highest priority must be keeping America safe.”

Full transcript:

“This is Missouri Senator Kit Bond.

“As the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, I understand that protecting the American people is the government’s highest priority and most important responsibility.

“And keeping our nation safe should not be a political issue, it’s an American one.

“I hope my colleagues in Congress keep that in mind over the next couple of weeks as we debate the troop funding bill.

“Guantanamo Bay – known as GITMO – doesn’t house middle-of-the-road, white-collar criminals.

“Instead, this detainee facility houses deadly terrorists, including 9-11-mastermind Khalid Sheihk Mohammed.

“While President Obama has no plan for what to do with these killers, he has pledged to close the terrorist-detention facility in January to fulfill a campaign promise.

“This is a dangerous case of putting symbolism over security.

“Or as I like to say – this is a classic example of a ‘READY, FIRE, AIM’ strategy.

“When it comes to national security decisions, I prefer aiming before shooting, which is why I keep calling on President Obama to tell us, the American people, how his plan to close Guantanamo will make our nation safer.

“The President needs to honor his pledge of transparency and provide the American people with answers.

“I think the American people have a right to know exactly what the White House plans to do with these terrorists.

“Americans also have a right to know if President Obama plans to send any of these terrorists to their communities.

“Any plan must answer these questions: Where will these men go? And will that make America safer?

“Now just last week the administration admitted that some of the terrorists could be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

“Defense Secretary Gates testified before Congress that as many as 100 Guantanamo detainees could be transferred to the United States.

“Whether these terrorists are coming to a prison in Kansas, or a halfway house in Missouri, or any other state – I can tell you this:

“Americans don’t want these terrorists in their neighborhoods.

“That’s why when we put it to a vote, the Senate voted 94 to 3 against importing detainees to American soil – even if that meant to a maximum security prison.

“Americans also don’t want to send these terrorists back to the battlefield to kill our troops.

“And, we know that terrorists detained at Guantanamo and released have gone back to the fight.

“The Pentagon has confirmed that at least 18 detainees who were released have gone back to the fight. And, 43 more are suspected of doing the same.

“There are no easy solutions here. But, having no solution and moving forward with the closing [of] the prison at Guantanamo is a dangerous gamble with our security here at home and our troops abroad.

“I, for one, am not willing to gamble with our national security.

“Closing our terrorist-detention facility with no backup plan is one campaign promise that can’t hold up to national security realities.

“While the President has made closing Guantanamo Bay a priority, the highest priority must be keeping America safe.

“Thank you for listening.”


Filed under: Kit Bond • President Obama
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Polly

    Nick-
    Please tell me where you've gotten your information about the Saudi's Reformation procedures.

    May 9, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Rs

    I know.... let them live with Goper and tom!! He/she can just hug them to death. These are not people that were just picked up walking down the street. These are people that had shot at or planned to kill our soldiers or innocents to further their brainwashed cause for a false god. This is not about the failures of bush, clinton , democrats or republicans. Until you idiots realize that it has NOTHING to do with either side of American politics then you will continue to FAIL. Wake up

    May 9, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. 0nce upon a horse

    good idea GOP..instead of putting some of these terroists in American prisons where we can keep an eye on them and even perhaps find out more information from them, why not just send them someplace else even back where they came from to be imprisoned where they can get back and communicate with their terrorist buddies, tell how the Americans treated them and then let them plan another attack. Makes sense to me..you have to admire how the far right thinks..or DOESN'T think. Just more GOP opposition to the president..nothing new.

    May 9, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. MJ

    Mr. Bond, had you been held captive with no due process for years, and possibly tortured, you might want to fight the country that imprisoned you as well. In fact, if there had been a shred of tengible proof that the men released were terrorists then we both know they wouldn't have been released at all. I, for one, am not comfortable letting people of your ilk decided who should be imprisoned based on your suspisions alone. If these man released are indeed terrorists fighting us now then I suspect they will meet their end on the battlefield and I wish them a speedy death. Some of you people are so afraid that you're willing to compromise our constitution and our entire way of life simply so you can feel safer.

    May 9, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Christian

    Wait a minute, a Republican that doesn't agree with a Democrat??? DID NOT see that one coming...

    May 9, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Matt Jones

    "Ready, fire, aim"? I thought that was Cheney's hunting strategy!

    May 9, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. gary davis

    if the republicans keep up the threats then they will fall by their own means . and scatter across the planet and never be heard from again..HMMMM oh well.
    americans are finnally catching on to the lies and threats . each of them might get voted out of office or if they are smart change parties and get on board with the new program and help make it better.

    May 9, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. T Mckinley

    Let's use some of that Federal stimulis money to build a super maximum security prison somewhere "out in the middle of nowhere" here in the U.S. I'm thinking of a prison modeled after the infamous Pelican Bay.

    This would put a lot of Americans to work, AND provide a place to house the GITMO detainees that have been tried and convicted of being terrorists.

    This would kill three birds with one stone: Close GITMO, put Americans to work, and provide a place to send the terrorists.

    May 9, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. BobAbrams

    Bond is 100% ACCURATE!!!!

    May 9, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Diane

    If American prisons can keep the public safe from the likes of Charles Manson and Richard Ramirez, they can keep the public safe from these guys. For this dork to suggest that Obama will "send them into our communities", is one more example of Republlicans playing to fear and ignorance. And THAT is what makes the Republicans so pathetic and nasty, and yes, unpatriotic.

    May 9, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Bwn

    Sen. Bond,

    Are you suggesting that the United States is incapable of detaining dangerous criminals within our borders?

    Assuming for the moment that the people at GITMO are guilty of anything more than being a convenient person to turn over to US forces for the "Terrorist Reward", no questions asked. I'm sure some of them are, but I digress.

    We have violent, dangerous criminals, who have committed horrendous acts in our prison system. We have the largest percentage of our population incarcerated than any other nation (including 'police state dictatorships'). We have military prisons that are guarded by battalions of trained soldiers, tanks, and artillery, not just correctional officers.

    Are you suggesting that ALL of the people running and guarding ALL of those facilities, are so incompetent, and SOO susceptible to the power of persuasion these prisoners possess, that they can't handle it?

    Can you imagine the OUTRAGE that would be coming out of the GOP if a Democrat inferred such incompetence upon our servicemen and women? Or how they were trying to encourage criminality by suggesting that the CO's in the regular prisons were incompetent, and easily bribed or turned against their country? The Republicans would be calling for formal apologies and resignations all around!

    May 9, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. Bob (Illinois)

    This sounds like more of the tired GOP nonsense about Democrats being soft on national security.

    May 9, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Jake

    At least this Bond guy says he'll aim before he shoots; a little safer to go hunting with than Mr. Cheney...

    May 9, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. Steve

    If the solution were as simple as Had It, flyingbyshoing, and John would have us believe it is, then Obama should use is superior oratory skills and just TELL US WHAT THE PLAN IS.

    Unfortunately, the situation at GITMO is very complicated, and there are no simple solutions. It will take time to develop a solution - a solution that is BETTER than the current status quo of keeping GITMO open. Sen Bond is correct to want to know what the Obamo alternative is before closing GITMO.

    May 9, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. BobbyC

    No – I have a better idea. Let's just keep them at Gitmo – forever. No trials. Let's just waterboard everyone there – hundreds of times. Maybe they can tell us who killed Kennedy...maybe where Hoffa is burried. I mean if torturing these guys gives us some info then it's ok, right Cheney? Let's pour a trillion dollars and 4000 American lives into a country in the middle east because we're positive "without a shadow of a doubt" that there are WMD's there. Yeah – that's what we should do. Let's continue to follow all the great ideas that our leaders have had for the past 8 years but they have worked out great so far.

    May 9, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. Ken

    There are already convicted terrorists imprisoned here. Our prisons house serial killers, child rapists, and all sorts of scum. During WWII we kept German POWs here.

    I'll venture to guess that these terrorist would prefer to stay in Gitmo rather than be imprisoned with some of our worst criminals.

    Well, I suppose when your party has nothing else to offer, scaring people into supporting you increasingly irrelavent party is the best you can do.

    May 9, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Mark

    If the republicans would have been smart then we would not have had 911 to begin with. Soon as Bush,Cheney, Rove took over..the hell began not just for other countries but for the American people theirself. Cheney is throwing out all this rhetoric because he doesn't want the American people to see what horrors they really were so out goes the lies and smoke screen. We had 911, lost jobs, then banks and car business going belly up over trillions dollar debt over the wrong war. Borrowed heavily from other countries and handed the next admin nothing but garbage and blood on the platter. The garbage of that admin and the blood of our military people.

    How in the h do we end up going to Iraq and Hussein when it was the Taliban and Al Quida we should have gone after and Bin Laden. How did things get so twisted and turned around! Insanity. We went to the wrong war and lost our sons and daughters for the wrong war. How could we let this happen how could the Senate and Congress and Justice Department and American people let this happen.

    What a disgrace that any republican jump on that bandwagon of insanity.

    May 9, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. Rob

    Our correctional system is more than adequate to deal with this issue. This effort to create hyperbolic fear behooves none of us.

    May 9, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. F-Dog

    Obama's approach still beats that of the previous administration of "Fire, Fire, FIRE" while aiming at the wrong target.

    May 9, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Jack

    Another reason why I must laugh at the Republicans and Democrats alike.

    It's not as though Khalid Sheik Mohammed will break out of his cell and run around the country like the HULK, and it's not as though keeping that pathetic excuse for a human being for as long as he can yield information is going to make Muslim youth around the world commit to Jihad...

    But using express torture will reduce the efficacy of information gathering, and allowing jihadists to use our criminal justice system will provide them with a means of propaganda.

    Send'em to the Salt Pit!

    May 9, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Bigskyman

    ah yes lets wrap ourselves in national security issues/concerns and forget the principles that our constitution stands for and what we really stand for.

    May 9, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Pel

    Here we go again with the FEAR ECHO by the Repugs concerning the detainees. If I remember correctly from a little history, we imported some German Prisoners to American during World War II. I don't recall them doing anything to disrupt the American way of life. In fact, they were treated for greater to a large extent than the Negro(Black) Soldiers during that time.

    I wonder, could a large degree of the problem with the detainees be the hue of their skin and their religion?

    Keep talking you Repugs, the vast number of Americans are clearly seeing you for what you are. For most, part RIGHT WINGERS and Tolal Dislike for other who are not like you.

    May 9, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Pete

    The GOP keeps trotting out partisan dishonest fools like Bond, Cheney, Boehner, Limbaugh, Hannity, Palin...the list goes on and on. I LOVE it – the more they whitewash and paint over all of their lies and mistakes of the past eight years while accusing Dems of everything under the sun, the more long term damage they do to their own party. In a way it's justice – the same tactics the GOP used to destroy our country are now destroying their own party. Keep spouting your idiotic rants, GOP boys and girls! Most of America has learned by now that if we have to choose between believing YOU or our OWN "lying" eyes...we'll believe our eyes. What a bunch of morons...and the GOP used to be my party – until they put an incompetent, ignorant, dishonest dolt in the White House.

    May 9, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Matt

    I find it funny how all you guys simply use loud mouths and false statements to blast the republican party and say that is all they do. I am a moderate, I say grow a pair dont be a lazy Americans, do some research and form your own opinions, these blogs have became pathetic lazy and pathetic.

    May 9, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Adam

    Kitt's desperation here is almost palpable. Sorry, old man, but times have changed and your country can't wait for you to catch up!

    May 9, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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